Mitt Romney’s speech to big time donors in Boca Raton is now being analyzed by media minds six ways to Sunday. My synopsis has him saying “there are 47% who are with him, [Obama]” who, because they pay no income tax, are basically schnorrers.* I guess this sort of thing limits the efforts of some of the wealthier remaining 53% to save the economy by playing the old derivative game.
What I haven’t heard mentioned, and can’t understand, is why a major party presidential nominee wouldn’t know better than to publicly shoot from the lip, even to an audience of true believers. George Allen’s “macaca” moment should have been adequate warning that there might be someone with a recording device lurking in the vicinity.
Of greater concern is the way these people talk to each other in what they presume, in this case mistakenly, to be privacy. They don’t mess with this right/wrong or fair/unfair business as we on the left do, perhaps naively. A musician I know working a party at Bohemian Grove, a northern California retreat for upscale men, quoted one of the group speaking of a hostile takeover by one member of a fellow member's corporation. “You don’t (expletive) a friend, you (expletive) John Q. Public.” At least there’s loyalty, even among thieves.
Another item buried in this news cycle, but perhaps equally revealing, is Romney’s ABC interview in which he defined middle class income as from $200 thousand to $250 thousand these figures being in the top ten percent nationally. In his defense he did add “or less” in a barely audible voice that sounded mighty like an afterthought. If he hadn’t I might have put in for some of the filthy lucre he says is floating around for the less affluent. He might have eventually had to say something like this in defense of his position on retaining the Bush tax cuts, although specificity is not his forte. But I thought he would have tried to avoid these specifics as long as he could, until after the election if possible. People like me have been shouting about just this for years. How considerate of him to spell it out so definitively!
Mitt Romney has been criticized for a lack of conviction. His off the cuff address in Boca Raton, particularly his tone in the audio, belie this criticism. He has some strong convictions that, to the extent they are known should doom his candidacy. If he is elected president it can be said that this is a case of carrying our version of democracy too far.
*Of course he didn’t use this word. But it summarizes and condenses his words nicely. “Hooray for Captain Spalding, the African explorer.” (Groucho Marx in “Animal Crackers”)